It is easy for reformers and their overseas advisers to develop conceptually strong plans for health sector reform that appeal to governments, donors, and academics. Transforming these plans into successful action has proved to be extremely difficult. Toward the goal of improving assistance to this sector, the Economic Development Institute (EDI) of the World Bank held a seminar in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in June 1996. This publication provides a summary of the proceedings and papers presented at that seminar. It was attended by delegations from five countries in Central Asia and from Azerbaijan and Mongolia. The content of this volume emphasizes topics central to the restructuring of health sector financing and health care delivery systems at a time of transition to market economies and to democracy. Maintaining and improving the health status of the population while preventing rapid escalation of health care expenditure were the recurrent themes throughout the seminar.